GTM Dictionary

The Go-to-Market Dictionary: Video Ad

Learn everything you need to know about video ads in our comprehensive Go-to-Market Dictionary.

Marketing is constantly evolving, and with the rise of digital communication, it’s become important for businesses to explore new advertising avenues. One of the most popular forms of digital advertising is video advertising. With the right strategy, video ads can help companies deliver their message, connect with their target audience, and ultimately, boost their sales. In this article, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of video ads, from what they are to the steps you need to take to create a successful campaign.

Understanding Video Ads

To fully understand video ads, let's start by breaking down what they are and their evolution.

What are Video Ads?

Video ads are digital promotional materials used by businesses to engage their target audience through video content. They can be short and sweet, or as long as a movie – it all depends on the purpose of the ad. Video ads can take many forms, including animation, live-action, and even interactive experiences.

Video ads have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their ability to capture and hold the viewer's attention. They are also more engaging than traditional text or image-based ads, as they allow businesses to showcase their products or services in a more dynamic and visually appealing way.

The Evolution of Video Advertising

The first television ads aired in the 1940s, and have since become a staple of traditional advertising methods. However, with the rise of web-based communication in the 1990s, businesses started to explore new ways of utilizing video ads.

One of the earliest forms of online video ads was the banner ad, which appeared at the top or bottom of a webpage and played a short video when clicked. However, these ads were often intrusive and annoying, and users quickly learned to ignore them.

The advent of social media and streaming platforms in the 21st century has since made video ads a popular form of digital marketing. Platforms like YouTube and Facebook allow businesses to target specific demographics and reach a wider audience than ever before.

Types of Video Ads

There are several types of video ads, including:

  1. Pre-roll ads – video ads that play before a main video starts
  2. Mid-roll ads – video ads that play midway through a main video
  3. Post-roll ads – video ads that play after a main video ends
  4. Bumper ads – short video ads that play before or after a main video

Pre-roll ads are the most common type of video ad and are often used on YouTube and other streaming platforms. They are typically 15-30 seconds long and play before the main video starts. Mid-roll ads are similar, but play during the main video, usually at a natural break in the content.

Post-roll ads are less common, as they require the viewer to watch the entire main video before the ad plays. Bumper ads are the shortest type of video ad, usually only 6 seconds long. They are often used as a teaser for a longer ad or to reinforce a brand message.

Overall, video ads are a powerful tool for businesses looking to engage their target audience and promote their products or services. With the right strategy and execution, video ads can help businesses stand out in a crowded digital marketplace and drive conversions.

The Video Ad Creation Process

Creating an effective video ad campaign takes careful planning and execution. Here are the steps you need to take to create a successful campaign:

Defining Your Target Audience

The first step in creating a video ad campaign is figuring out who you want to target. Knowing your target audience will help you create a campaign that resonates with them. Demographic and psychographic studies can provide insights into your audience's motivations, interests, and values that can guide your content creation process.

For instance, if your target audience is millennials, you might want to focus on creating a campaign that is visually appealing, fun, and relatable. On the other hand, if your target audience is baby boomers, you might want to create a campaign that is more informative, professional, and educational.

It's important to spend time researching and understanding your target audience. This will help you create a campaign that speaks directly to them and increases your chances of success.

Crafting a Compelling Message

The message of your video ad should be clear, concise, and engaging. You want your audience to remember your brand, and a memorable message is the key to achieving that. Take the time to craft an effective script and storyline for your video.

When crafting your message, think about what sets your brand apart from the competition. What makes your product or service unique? What problems does it solve for your customers? Use this information to create a message that resonates with your target audience and highlights the benefits of your brand.

Remember, your message should be focused on your audience, not your brand. Make sure that your video is not just a sales pitch, but rather an engaging story that your audience will want to watch and share.

Choosing the Right Video Format

The format of your video ad should match your campaign objective. For example, if your objective is brand awareness, then an entertaining and informative explainer video would be appropriate. On the other hand, if your objective is product promotion, then a product demo video may be more effective.

Consider the different types of video formats available, such as animation, live-action, or a combination of both. Each format has its own strengths and weaknesses, so choose the one that best fits your campaign objectives and target audience.

It's important to keep in mind that different video formats require different levels of production value and resources. For example, an animation video may be less expensive to produce than a live-action video, but it may take longer to create and require specialized skills.

Producing High-Quality Video Content

The quality of your video can make or break your campaign. Ensure that your video is professionally shot, edited, and produced. A low-quality video can detract from the message of your ad. Additionally, make sure that your video matches your brand image and tone of voice.

When producing your video, consider hiring a professional video production company to ensure high-quality results. A professional team can help with everything from scriptwriting to post-production editing and can provide valuable insights and guidance throughout the process.

Remember, your video is a reflection of your brand, so it's important to ensure that it is of the highest quality possible. This will help you create a campaign that resonates with your target audience and achieves your campaign objectives.

Video Ad Platforms and Channels

Now that you’ve created your video ad campaign, it’s time to decide where to distribute it. There are several platforms and channels available, each with its own unique benefits and audience demographics. By carefully selecting the right platforms and channels for your video ads, you can maximize your reach and engagement with your target audience.

Social Media Video Advertising

Social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, offer advertisers the ability to run video ads on their platforms. These ads can target specific audiences based on interests, behaviors, or demographics. For example, Facebook allows advertisers to target users based on their age, gender, location, interests, and more. LinkedIn, on the other hand, allows advertisers to target users based on their job title, company size, and industry. By using social media video advertising, you can reach a wide range of audiences and increase brand awareness.

One important thing to keep in mind when using social media video advertising is that users are often scrolling quickly through their feeds. Therefore, it’s important to create attention-grabbing videos that are short and to the point. You may also want to consider adding captions to your videos, as many users watch social media videos with the sound turned off.

In-App Video Ads

In-app video ads are ads that appear within mobile applications. With the growing popularity of mobile devices, it is becoming increasingly important to include in-app video ads in your video ad campaign. In-app video ads can be displayed in a variety of formats, including pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ads. Pre-roll ads are shown before the app’s content, mid-roll ads are shown during the app’s content, and post-roll ads are shown after the app’s content.

One advantage of in-app video ads is that they can be highly targeted. For example, if you have a gaming app, you can show ads for other gaming apps to users who have already shown an interest in gaming. In-app video ads can also be less intrusive than other types of ads, as they are often skippable after a few seconds.

Video Ads on Streaming Services

Streaming platforms, such as YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu, offer advertisers the ability to run video ads during their content. These ads are often unskippable, meaning viewers must watch the entire ad. As a result, these ads have high view rates compared to other formats.

One advantage of video ads on streaming services is that they can be highly engaging. For example, you can create a video ad that is related to the content the viewer is watching. If the viewer is watching a cooking show, you can create a video ad for kitchen appliances or cooking classes. By creating relevant and engaging video ads, you can increase brand awareness and drive conversions.

Programmatic Video Advertising

Programmatic video advertising uses software that automates the buying, placement, and optimization of video ads across different channels. It helps advertisers reach their target audiences at scale and in real-time. By using programmatic video advertising, you can save time and money by automating the ad buying process.

One advantage of programmatic video advertising is that it allows you to target specific audiences based on a variety of factors, such as demographics, interests, and behaviors. This can help you reach your ideal customers and increase conversions. Programmatic video advertising can also be highly cost-effective, as you only pay for the impressions or clicks that your ads receive.

Overall, there are many different platforms and channels available for video advertising. By carefully selecting the right platforms and channels for your video ads, you can maximize your reach and engagement with your target audience.

Measuring Video Ad Performance

Once your video ad campaign is launched, it’s important to measure its performance. The key performance indicators (KPIs) for video ads include:

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

  1. Views – the number of times your video has been viewed
  2. Play rate – the percentage of viewers who started watching your video
  3. Click-through rate (CTR) – the percentage of viewers who clicked on a link in your video ad
  4. Conversion rate – the percentage of viewers who completed a desired action after watching the video, such as filling out a form or making a purchase

Analyzing Video Engagement Metrics

Engagement metrics can help you gauge the effectiveness of your video at capturing and holding viewers' attention. Metrics such as view duration, drop-off points, and social media shares can provide insight into how well your video resonates with viewers.

A/B Testing for Video Ads

A/B testing allows you to test different variations of your video ad and compare their performance. This test can help you optimize your video ad, so you can create a campaign that resonates most effectively with your audience.


Video advertising is a valuable tool in the digital marketing toolbox. It can help you reach your target audience where they're at, engage them with compelling content, and drive the conversion rates you need to succeed. By understanding video ad creation, distribution, and measurement, you'll be well on your way to boosting your brand's success through video advertising.